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Woman Farmer of the Year Esmeralda Stanley of Trio Village in Toledo started her own farm from scratch; is an advocate of organic farming

Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2023. 12:08 pm CST.

Photo Credit: MAFSE

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise’s (MAFSE) National Agriculture and Trade Show (NATS) Committee on Tuesday announced Mrs. Esmeralda Stanley of Trio Village in Toledo as the Woman Farmer of the Year

MAFSE said Stanley has built her farm from scratch with her own hands and is an advocate of organic agriculture. She tells us all about her farm and farming:

“The farm is registered as Emmanuel Farm. This was entirely savannah, there was only grass,” Stanley told MAFSE.

“The plan was to plant and cultivate to sell a little cheaper and to provide produce to the surrounding communities to alleviate the high cost of fruits and vegetables.”

Stanley said she started clearing the land with the help of her two older daughters.

“I started planting and after two years I harvested my first soursop and began to market it at a dollar per pound. I was so happy with the outcome of the food production that I continued to plant more by diversifying with other fruits and vegetables, including plantain, tomatoes, habanero, cilantro, pak choy, okra, banana, coconuts, and flowers to have a bit of everything to consume. The surplus is sold to surrounding communities at a low price, $1 for the soursop, a dollar a pound for tomatoes, same for cilantro. Habanero is even given away because we do not consume it. Here I have everything, including ducks and chickens. I had pigs, but due to the pandemic I discontinued rearing them.”

Woman Farmer of the Year Esmeralda Stanley of Trio Village in Toledo (Photo Credit: MAFSE)

Stanley is a strong-headed woman farming for the upkeep of her family.

“I was told that the land here was not suitable for agriculture, but with much effort, my investment has yielded. There is a saying that things are earned with courage, self-control, strength, and a lot of faith in God. And by the will of God, I have achieved it.”

As MAFSE said, she produces her own organic fertilizers and insecticides.

“The coconuts are already producing, and I must mention that everything is produced organically,” she said.

“I have five children and I don’t have money to buy fertilizers. We produce our own fertilizer with chicken manure, dry plants, and materials including fallen leaves and flowers,” Stanley explained. 

“The organic insecticide which is processed and applied here is made with garlic, Marigold, leaves of Madre de Cacao and other pungent herbs with a bitter smell. It does not harm beneficial insects; it simply repels pests. I need bees to pollinate the flowers and the fruits. We provide products for Bella Vista, Mango Creek, and Trio. What we market helps to sustain my family.”

While promoting the idea that more young people should get into agriculture, Stanley said we must take care of the trees and replant them.

“I started with nothing, and I keep growing,” she said.

“And I also encourage the youth to get involved in agriculture. It’s educational for young children to learn to farm. Nowadays people are cutting down trees without a plan for replanting. But where there are trees, there is a future. I love it when in the morning I wake up and I hear birds singing, but it is because of the trees that they exist. So, we want a green world, not a dry world without trees. I am a lover of nature. I feel proud of myself and thanks to God I continue to have the strength and courage.”

 

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